data and graphs and circles...oh my!

Do you have a classroom full of fabulous technology?!? I have been blessed with several technology options to use with my students. The package that receives the most use would have to be my InterWrite board and slate. Unfortunately, my slate died. And our amazing computer lab teacher tried to find a replacement...but that didn't work out in the end. So here's the deal. Our district has moved away from InterWrite and taken a plunge towards Hitachi. So if I want a slate, then I would need to become a Hitachi user. Ahhh...but there's the problem of the InterWrite board that I use with my students all the time. Just when I thought there was no happy ending to this story, our band instructor stepped in with an app that would turn my ipad into a slate. Did you know this was possible?!? Well, I certainly did not! He helped me get set up and I've tried it for a couple of days...so far I'm in love! I need more practice before I can write a complete review...but hopefully that will come in the near future. If you are a tablet user, go checkout the Splashtop Whiteboard app and let me know what you think. Combine it with the Splashtop Remote Desktop app and you will be set. :-)

We have been working through our unit on data display in 7th grade math. This is one of my favorite units! The design of this unit functions on a rotating 3-part approach. With each type of graph we have the typical 1- or 2-day lesson followed by a project day. Each project day includes a competency quiz, a whole-class "Are You Ideal" data display construction (using our height and arm span data), and an individual student project portion that allows students to use their personal survey data to complete a graph for their "Getting to Know You" statistics booklet. I love that my students are working with data they have collected. They are totally engaged while being supported with plenty of models throughout the unit.

Today we completed an M&M Lab Activity to practice constructing a circle graph using a protractor. It was the perfect way to spend my Friday afternoon with my students...and then promptly send them to the rest of the faculty after consuming their 1/4 cup of M&Ms. Yikes! I did make an attempt to lay low after school to avoid the wrath of fellow teachers. Ha! Click on the picture below for a free download.

Meanwhile, our MATHercise tubs include practice on data displays too! The Build a Box Plot game this week helped my students understand the difference between constructing a box plot with an even number of data items and an odd number of data items. Hallelujah! The data chips allowed students to manipulate the numbers and then cover the median (either an actual data item or the space between the two data items "tied" for the center) with a vertical bar. Any guesses on their journal prompt this week?!? Yep. Describe the difference between working with an odd or even number of data items when building a box plot. Love it!

Next week my students will learn a solitaire-like game. They will practice interpreting a stem-and-leaf plot plus constructing a histogram from a stem-and-leaf plot...via a fun and different game!

I'm looking forward to the mental math that will jumpstart our days this week! Click on the picture to purchase the game (including a record sheet with a solution key) and join in on our fun.

My circle saga in geometry will have to wait for another day...I'm still spinning from the unending mess! :)



far too long

Good news.
I had a fabulous long weekend with my amazing man!
My sweet friend with cancer has started her very own blog...a definite must read.
(I am still blogging...even though you see no proof of such a fact.)

Crazy news.
My sweet baby girl had the stomach bug...again!
(My student teacher is sick too.)
And we had conferences tonight and again on Monday.
So...needless to say...I've been consumed with much.

I have lots to share!
But I'm not sure anything I type tonight would make sense.
Check back this weekend for a recap on our data display progress, my circle lesson saga, a technology overhaul, and more!

Wish me luck...we are tackling circle graphs with M&Ms tomorrow. :)

Happy Friday Eve to YOU!
Enjoy...make it count!


happy weekend to you

Life has been super speedy this week! Between lessons and curriculum meetings and working with a new intern...spinning in circles is a fair description of this short week. :)

I just wanted to check in before the weekend. I'm headed to three days without internet connection. It's hard to realize that actually exists, huh? It will be wonderful to relax and set school work aside for a few moments. The reality is that every item sitting undone by close of school tomorrow will still be there patiently waiting for me on Tuesday. What do you have planned for this weekend?!?

Have a fabulous weekend...make it count!



happy valentine's day

I hope your day was full of lots of love and goodness all around! My hubby left a card in my Yukon that brought a smile to my face. And my precious Emma baked a chocolate cake just for me...I told her it looks just like the cakes they make on Cake Boss! :)

And I had a super fun happy mail day last week...it has been so hard to wait to share my "Be My Valentine" teacher gift exchange goodness. Earlier last week I received this amazing box of goodies from Colleen over at Patton's Patch...

It's such a fun mix of cute notepads, funky "T" letter stickers, adorable magnets (that I think she handcrafted!), chunky binder clips, an adorable bee pen, and a packet filled with scrapbook goodies! And my very favorite item of all...zebra buttons! I have a special project in mind for them...I'll let you know if it turns out as amazing in real life as it appears in my head. LOL! Thank YOU, Colleen...you totally deserve a gold star for your sweet generosity.

If you want to get in on the next round of teacher love...head on over to Teacher Blogger Exchange and subscribe to the new blog that Caitlin and Sarah have created just for these fun exchanges.

Hope your week is off to a great start...make it count!


happy snow day

The magic call came at 5 am...the Bentonville Public Schools will be closed today due to inclement weather...to which I promptly reset the alarm and handed my phone to my sweet hubby. The Walmart home office never closes! :)

This is my sweet girl spending her 10 minutes in the snow...isn't she adorable?!? Yep. Even with all of those double layers (make note of the hats!) she tires of the cold as quickly as her mom. LOL!

We had a great day! We slept late and stayed in our jammies all day! We baked our traditional snow day pot of chili. The girls and I played games all afternoon. I worked on a geometry lesson for a little bit this morning. I missed two classes of geometry last week. And unfortunately we don't have a moment to spare...so I'm trying to guess where they landed without me. I'm working on a series of review slides to help me determine our next step. Here's the review slide of vocabulary...

I'll let you know how that shakes out tomorrow...that is IF by some amazing grace I survive the white that was rescheduled from today to tomorrow. ;)

Wishing you the joy of a 4-day week...make it count!



winter white out

I am finally feeling better. Not fabulous. But better. At least I can talk above a whisper without feeling sharp pains in my throat. :) And my sweet friend (and favorite thirty-one consultant!) Cindy surprised me with an icee in the midst of my blah. I cannot begin to tell you how much that made my weekend!

And guess what else makes this a super Sunday?!? We're scheduled for snow tonight and tomorrow...and obviously hoping that translates to "snow day" for at least one of those days. Good gracious...we've had a winter weather advisory posted for this front since Thursday.

Our school has been planning a white out for tomorrow regardless of the real weather forecast. We play our across town rival in basketball tomorrow night. They're mascot is the leopards. And didn't you know that leopards can't survive in snow? That's why we've been working towards a white out for tomorrow for weeks! The halls are decked out in snowflakes. Students and faculty will be wearing white tomorrow. And our pep assembly will have some fun snow games to et the spirit raised! Go Wildcats!

But I would hate to ruin our chances of a real snow day by not being ready for tomorrow. So I spent a couple of hours at school this evening going through the stash my sub left me from Thursday and Friday. I also reset my MATHercise tubs...we have a fun mental math game this week. Oh...and...I have an intern who starts her final rotation with me tomorrow. So I also rearranged my teacher desk corner a bit so I could add a space for her to call home. The only thing I need to finish is highlighting correctives so I can hold student conferences during our MATHercise time in the morning. I better log off of here and get that final detail done...let it snow!

Hope you have a fabulous week...make it count!



valentine's day and box plots

Only a math teacher could connect Valentine's Day and box-and-whisker plots! :-) We will be testing on Tuesday; so when students finish they will be creating Valentine's hearts from a square and circle. (This lab was inspired by Judy Dunmire at UAFS.) This lab activity will build on their composite area and perimeter skills...plus we will gather data to use the next day in our box plots lesson. Love it! The activity bundle I just loaded to my TpT store includes everything you need for the lab activity as well as box-and-whisker plot vocabulary task cards and a build a box plot sorting activity. I will finish with an extension from the AIMS Are You Ideal? lesson to allow students to work independently in creating a box plot from start to finish.

ETA: Upon request, the Valentine's Day Hearts Composite Area & Perimeter Lab Activity has been added to my TpT store as a singleton item. Happy Valentine's Day to YOU!

I've also gathered my favorite activities from my Solving Equations unit. This bundle includes I have...Who has... Collecting Like Terms game, Find a Match Translating Expressions game, Alphametics Mind Workout, Build a Square Inequalities game, and Three Equations in a Row Tic-Tac-Toe game. I will be pulling the I have... Who has... cards for small group next week. A few of my transfer students need to improve their solving skills...particularly when it comes to collecting like terms! And this is just one example of why I love teaching with math centers.

Happy Saturday to YOU...make it count!



order of operations

Good gracious...I have definitely been missing in action! Unfortunately, a visit to the doctor confirmed that I have strep. He spied without swabbing...if that's any indication of my condition. :( And I'm still in quite a bit of pain...apparently my new found allergy to penicillin requires an alternate medicine for treating strep...and minus the hives I'm beginning to believe penicillin is much more effective than my current meds. HA! I simply can't remember the last time I've missed two consecutive sick days. The worst part of being out yesterday and today is that we have a student teacher joining us on Monday! Lesson #1: How to regain control of middle school students after having two different substitutes before a weekend.

I have spent a portion of my sick days getting organized. We are in our final unit before state testing...that means it is time to solidify my method of test prep for this year. I am still torn between two different approaches. But I have started pulling activities from earlier in the year that we can revisit in small group. This is one of my faves!

This Order of Operations Activity Bundle is full of games that make student really think about the order of operations instead of just going through the motions. The dice game is a common game that I adapted to order of operations instead of simple addition. The tiling games are inspired by Marcy Cook. One of my teacher buddies introduced me to the idea of tiling through one of Marcy's sets and my students absolutely love the challenge of using each tile once to complete the number puzzle. And to all of my 5th and 6th grade friends...this content will be yours with Common Core. I've added this bundle to my TpT store if it's something your students need practice on as well.

Happy Friday to YOU! Enjoy your weekend...make it count!



patty paper discoveries

My students always think I purchase patty paper from the local butcher. They make me smile! This is my first year to teach geometry in forever. And I can say forever because I'm old and gray. LOL! I just have to share with you all my new favorite book that I recently rediscovered. For those of you who know me well...I know...I know...I'll have a new favorite book in the very near future! But humor me! Truly...this book is amazing! Becky Bride has published a geometry book via Kagan.

The book is targeted for grades 8-12, but I have used several concepts with Kagan structures in my 7th grade math class too. And I'm even going to step out on a limb and say with the changes of Common Core some of these items could be used in the 5th and 6th grade.

I am currently leading my geometry students through a series of discoveries involving circles. My students use the patty paper to construct and compare properties of circles. Then they follow a Kagan structure or two to put their new knowledge to work. Tomorrow will be day three of circles and we should be able to summarize all of the properties from chords to tangents to sectors and everything in between.

If you teach high school geometry, this book is a "must have" on your list of resources. Enjoy!
And happy almost Friday Eve...make it count!




I'm linking up with Farley to share my life at the moment. There were lots of positives today...
*day one of five days of jeans...
*frost on the ground this morning...a small symbol that it could actually be winter eventually...
*my students rocked their review activity...
*a teacher friend surprised me with a Sonic iced tea...
*feeling a serious step of progress with some standards work...
And all of that for a Monday. :)

Hope your week is off to a great start...make it count!



prayers for janet

One of the sweetest ladies I know is in the midst of a storm. Janet is our youth pastor's assistant at FBC Bentonville. During a routine outpatient gall bladder surgery, Janet's doctor discovered that her intestines were adhered to the abdominal wall. The doctor also spied a cyst on one ovary and an overall abnormal look to that ovary. Needless to say the doctor was unable to reach her gall bladder. Additional tests have been run and Janet (along with her family) are awaiting results. They expect a phone call tomorrow that confirms ovarian cancer. I would love for you to add Janet to your prayer list. And please feel welcome to follow her story on Jenna's blog (her daughter-in-law).

And though my heart is heavy for this amazing family, life continues in the midst of this storm. I've been working on lesson plans this afternoon. We will finish our unit on geometric properties tomorrow and begin our testing cycle on Tuesday. I'll be back soon to share pics of our graphic organizers. And this is my new favorite activity for review day...

Students mix and pair to give one problem and get one problem. When students finish filling their page, they come to me to check for accuracy and receive their unit study guide. Hop on over to my TpT store to download a free copy of this activity.

Have a great week...and make it count!


scale drawings

Our PLC is trying to transition to the Common Core State Standards. The state of Arkansas will fully implement grades 3-8 next year. So we are trying to teach a few lessons here and there to be ready. Here's one that I created for my classroom this past week.

My students entered my classroom spying furniture cards posted throughout the room. They were immediately intrigued. I told them we were going shopping! Our two-day lesson culminated with students creating a scale drawing of a bedroom from a house floor plan and selecting furniture to duplicate to their blueprint scale to decorate their room. Each team decided upon a scale that would work for their four bedrooms and created a team "house" poster to display their work.

Be sure to hop over to my store if you're interested in this lesson or other items I've created. I'm working on more Common Core State Standards projects as we speak...

Enjoy the rest of your weekend...and make it count!Photobucket


tag...you're it!

Happy Friday to YOU!
I'm super excited that this week has come to a long awaited close.
Our week has been filled with meetings, appointments, and lots of learning!

I've been tagged! :)

Here are the rules...
1. You must post the rules.
2. Post 12 fun facts about yourself on the blog post.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and then create 12 new questions for the people you tagged.
4. Tag 12 people and link them on your post.
5. Let them know you've tagged them.

All About Me...
1. I'm a city girl who grew up in the country.

2. I'm the baby of four girls.
3. I started teaching high school math at age 20.

4. I absolutely love being a mom of daughters.
5. My hubby is an engineer and my students are convinced we only talk about math.
6. I very rarely cook...and if I do it's totally from a box.
7. It's been almost a year since I stopped drinking beverages with carbonation.
8. Scrapbooking is my favorite hobby.
9. My kitchen is lime green with black, white, and red accents. (I have this same color theme in my classroom!)

10. Sunday is my favorite day of the week...love to worship with my family!
11. My favorite course to teach is precalculus...the trigonometry is absolutely dreamy. :)
12. My toes are always painted...usually red...but sometimes hot pink.

The sweet Heather from
Loose Shoelaces tagged me with these fun questions...
1. What has been the most memorable lesson you have taught?
My first and last unprepared lesson! I walked into student teaching without a game plan for teaching systems of equations. It bombed! And my cooperating teacher didn't save me. It was the best thing she could have ever done for me. :) I vowed to never be unprepared again!2. What's a scent that triggers a memory for you?
apple pie...reminds me of my grandma
3. What's your favorite movie?
The Proposal
4. What's do you usually bring for lunch to school?
Smart Ones Teriyaki Chicken5. Do you prefer student led conferences or traditional parent teacher conferences?
traditional...I'm a bit of a control freak6. Do you drink Starbucks? What's your usual order?
pumpkin loaf and a venti ice water with extra ice
7. What's your cell phone ring tone?
8. How often do you check your blogs that you follow?
at least weekly
9. What's your favorite recipe you like to bring to parties?
a Village Inn pie10. What's a TV show that you loved growing up?
Dukes of Hazard
11. Target or Walmart?
Walmart (they pay my bills...hubby works at the home office in produce replenishment)12. How many students do you have in your class?
I teach three sections...21, 24, and 17 students respectively...62 students total. ;)

The lovely Lauren from Life in Middle School tagged me with these fun questions...

1. Favorite Color?
lime green

2. Favorite School Subject?
math (of course!)
3. Favorite Classroom Management Technique?
4. Favorite School Lesson?
Law of Sines
5. Least favorite school "chore"
lunch duty
6. Apple or Android
apple (I tried Android and failed miserably!)
7. Money not being an object... Dream Car?
any Toyota SUV
8. Favorite restaurant to eat a fancy dinner at?
Ruth's Chris (salmon, please!)

Questions for my blog friends...1. How long have you been teaching?
2. What is your favorite grade to teach?
3. Favorite quote?

4. What's on your playlist?
5. Favorite clothing store?
6. Shoes...cute, comfort, or both?
7. Mountains or beach?

8. Coffee or tea?
9. How do you spend the summer vacation?
10. Most recent addiction?
11. Does your classroom have a theme?
12. What's your favorite technology item in your classroom?

I can't wait to read fun facts from the following bloggers...
Middle School Math Rules

The Resource(ful) Room

Heather's Heart

Runde's Room

Secondary Solutions

Algebra, Essentially

For the Love of Teaching Math

One Extra Degree

Hope you have a fabulous weekend...make it count!